DOJ official told to file charges this week vs. PhilHealth execs tagged in corruption scandal


Posted at Oct 01 2020 03:06 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2020 07:25 PM

ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA — An official of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday he has been instructed to file charges this week against executives of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) over the alleged widespread corruption in the agency.

"The directive to me is to file [the complaint] within the week," said Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay before the House panels on Public Accounts and Good Government, and Public Accountability.

"What remains is to pursue the criminal complaints against PhilHealth officials. My office is finishing up complaint on the reimbursement mechanism," Sugay said, weeks after a DOJ-led task force revealed the result of their 1-month probe.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed to reporters that Friday is the target day for the filing of complaint.

Task Force PhilHealth last Sept. 14 submitted its findings to President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In the report, it recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against former PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, Senior Vice President for Information Management Sector Jovita Aragona, Senior Vice President for Health Finance Policy Sector Israel Francis Pargas, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus, among others.

Duterte immediately approved of the task force's recommendations.

The task force said the evidence and results of their investigation found the PhilHealth officers to have violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Sugay says the task force is ready to work with the House in pursuing criminal and administrative complaints against PhilHealth officials.

Both chambers of Congress have launched their own inquiries into the issues hounding PhilHealth.

The Senate Committee of the Whole earlier recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who chairs the PhilHealth board; Morales; and other executives of the state-run insurance firm after they allegedly authorized the release of COVID-19 funds to health facilities not catering to coronavirus patients.

The alleged corruption issues in PhilHealth surfaced as the country faces a health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

—Reports from RG Cruz and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News